The ever revolving White House employment door

Is Attorney General William Barr the next to be given a pink slip by the ever revolving White Houses human resources department? More than 2,000 former Justice Department officials who served in Republican as well as Democratic administrations posted a statement calling on Barr to resign.

“Mr. Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words. Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign. But because we have little expectation he will do so, it falls to the Department’s career officials to take appropriate action to uphold their oaths of office and defend nonpartisan, apolitical justice,” the officials wrote in a statement.

Even with all the hot water Barr has endured, he is ordering a re-examination of several high-profile cases, including that of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Barr had also been pressing for a sentence for Flynn that would spare him from prison.

In recent months, Flynn changed lawyers and has waged a campaign to portray himself as a victim of malicious prosecutors. He is asking a judge to dismiss his case or allow him to change his plea to not guilty. Flynn’s new counsel, has included unfounded conspiracy theories in the counsel’s filings and accused Robert Mueller of suppressing exculpatory evidence and scheming against Flynn for political purposes. Flynn has said under oath that he was guilty of lying to the FBI.

Prosecutors with the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York are considering whether to charge Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and at least one of his business partners with misleading potential investors for Fraud Guarantee, the Florida-based company that paid Giuliani $500,000. That payment to Giuliani for work with Fraud Guarantee came just as Parnas and an associate began helping Giuliani arrange meetings in Ukraine to dig up dirt on the Bidens.

In the case of Fraud Guarantee, investigators have focused on the marketing pitch, specifically examining whether the men duped investors about the value of the company and how they intended to use the proceeds, the people familiar with the investigation say.

US intelligence officials told lawmakers last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign by aiming to cast doubt on the integrity of the vote and boost Trump’s re-election. But Donald Trump’s Republican allies on the Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee questioned the assessment presented by officials of the Office of National Intelligence.

Trump rebuked acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire for allowing his staff to appear before the committee and he was replacing Maguire on an acting basis with Richard Grenell, a strong Trump loyalist who has served as ambassador to Germany since 2018. Grenell has no experience in the intelligence community.

So here we go again. Over 3 years of Trump thinking [or otherwise] that the country thinks he won the election because of election interference from Russia and it is starting again before the elections. And again, Trump prefers not to believe his own intelligence agencies or maybe he thinks friend [or master] Russia President Vladimir Poutine would never do this or maybe he wants Russia to help him.

And yet, the US, UK, and Georgia [the country] accused the Russian military of being behind a major 2019 cyber-attack on Georgia that disrupted “several thousand Georgian government and privately-run websites and interrupted the broadcast of at least two major television stations.”

Trump’s acting [aren’t they really all?] chief of staff Mick Mulvaney railed against the so-called “deep state” during an appearance at the Oxford Union in the UK recently. Federal workers are not in their jobs to “make decisions” and should quit if they disagree with Trump’s agenda. Damn, if workers followed that, there would be huge government openings.

US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has sentenced Roger Stone, an adviser and friend to Trump, to three years and four months in prison for lying to Congress and threatening a witness regarding his efforts for the President’s 2016 campaign. Stone also receive two-years probation on each count, running concurrently.

“Roger has a very good case for exoneration in my opinion” said Trump after the sentence was handed down. Of course, he will decide who gets pardoned!

“He was treated unfairly.” Trump says that for any friend of his who was arrested and/or sentenced.

Trump claims that the forewoman of the juror had a heavy bias during Stones trial. Now he mentions it? The judge will look into it. But you know how Trump is – no proof.

Unsure why now [is there ever a reason with him?] but Trump gave clemency to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich [corruption] and financier Michael Milken [securities laws] as well as pardoning former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik [tax fraud and lying to DoHS] and former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. [gambling fraud]. Seven others, some Republican supporters, were also given clemency or pardons.

“I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country,” Trump said after the pardons and clemencies. Though the President is the head of the executive branch, America’s real chief law enforcement official is Barr. But he can believe what he wants. He can be the chief toilet bowl cleaner as well.

Not surprisingly, Barr had considered resigning over Trump’s interference in his department, including Trump’s tweets that he said recently made it impossible for him to do his job. Barr probably would deny this.

Hackers are taking advantage of tweets from Giuliani that contain typos in domain names. Hackers buy the mistype domain names and redirect visitors to fake pages to spread malware. One would lead users to a website prompting visitors to download a Google Chrome extension, which would read people’s browsing history and change their default search engine.

“How bad were the Academy Awards this year, did you see? ‘And the winner is … a movie from South Korea,’…. What the hell was that all about? We’ve got enough problems with South Korea with trade, on top of it they give them the best movie of the year?” Trump said. The distributor responded with “Understandable, he can’t read,” as the movie has subtitles.

Trump will headline the most expensive fundraiser of his presidency at the Palm Beach, Florida, home of billionaire Nelson Peltz where each couple donates the $580,600 price of entry. Odd number. Over $10 million will go to his campaign, the Republican National Committee and 11 state Republican parties.

A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said that a former US congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, offered him a pardon on behalf of Trump, in exchange for denying Russian involvement in the Democratic National Committee email leak. The White House and the congressman have strongly denied Trump’s involvement in the matter. Rohrabacher said he had never spoken to Trump about Assange and that the visit was “my own fact finding mission.”

White House Press Secretary Stephanie “Parrot” Grisham dismissed Fitzgerald’s claim as “a total lie…. The President barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman. He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject. It is a complete fabrication and a total lie. This is probably another never ending hoax and total lie from the DNC.” Sounds like her boss. Hence the Parrot name.

Senate Republicans blocked an effort by Democrats to unanimously pass three election security-related bills, marking the latest attempt to clear legislation ahead of the November elections. The Democrats tried to get consent to pass two bills that require campaigns to alert the FBI and Federal Election Commission (FEC) about foreign offers of assistance, as well as legislation to provide more election funding and ban voting machines from being connected to the internet.

Previous attempts by a bipartisan group’s hopes were dashed in December when a GOP senator insisted the bipartisan legislation had been “designed” to be bad for Donald Trump, and must, therefore, be defeated. Various rejected bills included voting systems to use backup paper ballots and mandate tech safeguards, require candidates to notify law enforcement authorities in the event of a foreign power offering campaign assistance, etc. Seems the GOP do want election interference.

Democratic presidential nominee Michael Bloomberg has been accused of allegations of profane, sexist comments against women. When White House counselor Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway was asked if that was worse than Trump’s “Grab them by the p***y” comments, she said of course it is way worse. But just remember that there has been no proof of the allegations against him.

In the ever revolving door, John Rood, the Pentagon’s top policy official, is leaving his post. Rood, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon, had lost support among senior national security leadership and was asked to resign. He has differed with the administration on a number of issues including Afghanistan and Ukraine. Rood was against withholding Ukraine aid.

As well, Deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates is leaving the National Security Council and going to the Energy Department. Rumors have been circulating that Coates was the anonymous administration official who wrote an op-ed in The New York Times in 2018 and published a book last November titled: “A Warning” by Anonymous. A senior administration official said that Coates’ move has been in the works for some time and she’s not involved in the authoring.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky strongly rejected Trump’s claim that Ukraine is corrupt. Trump claimed that Ukraine is known as the third-most corrupt country in the world.

Trump has said that he will look to block the release of John Bolton’s upcoming book over claims that their discussions were classified, adding that his former national security adviser is a “traitor.” He insisted that Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” shouldn’t be published before the November election.

After President Barack Obama tweeted “Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history”, Trump tweeted “Did you hear the latest con job? President Obama is now trying to take credit for the Economic Boom taking place under the Trump Administration.”

Seriously? If Trump thinking that he is taking sole credit for the economic upswing… Trump didn’t kill the Recovery Act Annualized GDP growth averaged about 2% after it bottomed out in 2009 through the end of Obama’s term but 2.4% average growth rate during the last three years of Obama’s last term. Under Trump, it is slightly better at 2.5% but Trump promised 4%. Another broken promise. I’m sure he will blame someone else for not getting to 4%.

Trump claimed the US now has the “best jobs numbers ever” except in the last 36 months of Obama’s second term there were 8.1 million jobs created. Under Trump’s first 36 months there were 6.6 million jobs created.

Trump can’t claim the economy is doing well when in 2019, US retailers announced 9,302 store closings, a 59% jump from 2018 and the highest number since Coresight Research began tracking the data in 2012.

Remember when Trump bullied 16-year old Greta Thunberg on Twitter telling the teenager she needed to “chill out” and “work on her anger management”? White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham implied that social media attacks on a minor are fair game as long as that child is a public figure. Say if a 7 year old who has parents as public figures said something that Trump didn’t like, it would be OK for Trump to bully a 7 year old?

Trump is nothing but a big bully, picking on a 16 year old that is less than a quarter of his age. He is an adult and [we assume] has some common sense and some experience. But this is Trump who will fight back hard if any negative comments [no matter how small] are directed at him.

Trump takes lap around track to open Daytona 500 as the Grand Marshal, commanding: “Gentlemen, start your engines.” He is the second American president to do so, behind George W. Bush who attended the Daytona 500 in 2004. Speaking of which, an image was posted by a Trump doofus showing the presidential jet near the race track. It was pulled after it was discovered that the jet was from 2004, when Bush attended the race.

Trump, always like to inflate his already inflated ego, decided to take a full lap around the track prior to the race with “The Beat” [his limousine] as well as other vehicles. But in the end the race was postponed for 214 hours because of bad weather.

Pigeons with tiny Make American Great Again hats glued to their heads were released in downtown Las Vegas this week in what appears to be a sarcastic statement of loyalty to Trump and a mock protest of Nevada’s coming Democratic presidential caucuses. A group calling itself P.U.T.I.N., Pigeons United To Interfere Now, claimed responsibility for the stunt.

Revenge and criticism is his specialty

Trump complained about news coverage of the firing of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council in a tweet, saying reporting was done “as though I should think only how wonderful he was. Actually, I don’t know him, never spoke to him, or met him (I don’t believe!).” You know that means he knows Vindman well.

Trump claimed that Vindman “reported contents of my ‘perfect’ calls incorrectly,” which those close to Vindman have disputed and claiming he was given a “horrendous” report by his superior that he had problems with judgment and leaking information. Vindman’s former boss, then-White House Russia adviser Fiona Hill praised his performance.

Alexander Vindman’s twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, a National Security Council attorney, was also fired, “suddenly and with no explanation, despite over two decades of loyal service to this country.” Yevgeny Vindman had never testified or spoke publicly about the Ukraine saga.

If it was just Alexander Vindman who was fired was one thing. But both? That makes things even more like revenge. Then it gets worse: Trump tweets that the military should punish Vindman for what he has done. Unless he has done something in the military that is wrong, good luck there. But what Trump wants is political. A US defense official with knowledge of the matter said there is no Army investigation into Vindman, the Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer weighed in on Trump’s tweets about Vindman, posting on Twitter, “Has any ‘President’ ever been more disrespectful to U.S. service members?”

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly said that Alexander Vindman, a key witness in Trump’s impeachment inquiry, was right to raise concerns about Trump’s July call to Ukraine’s president. Kelly also believes that Vindman told the truth during testimony before House investigators last fall. Multiple former generals and admirals have come out supporting Kelly’s comments. These include Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Adm. William McRaven.

Schumer sent a letter to the acting Department of Defense Inspector General requesting investigations into “any and all instances of retaliation” against witnesses who have made “protected disclosures of presidential misconduct.”

An adviser to Trump said the firings of the major impeachment witnesses was meant to send a message that siding against the President will not be tolerated saying “Flushing out the pipes.”

Prosecutors from the US Attorney’s office in Washington, who are employees of the Justice Department, had said that longtime Donald Trump confidante Roger Stone should be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison after he was convicted on seven charges last year that derived from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, including lying to Congress and witness tampering.

The sentencing recommendation, transmitted to a judge and signed off on by the office’s top prosecutor, had not been communicated to leadership at the Justice Department. The revised sentencing memorandum, which is expected to be filed in Washington federal court, comes hours after Trump publicly criticized the recommendation. Meanwhile, all 4 federal prosecutors quit the Stone case after DOJ pushes to reduce Stone’s sentencing. Other federal prosecutors could follow.

Attorney General William Barr has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next month giving them a forum to press the attorney general on the sentencing of Roger Stone and other controversies that have emerged in the aftermath of Trump’s impeachment trial.

Congressional Republicans downplayed the involvement of Trump and Barr in the sentencing of Stone, saying they see no reason for the investigations that Democrats are demanding. Meanwhile, federal judge, Amy Berman Jackson, has denied Stone a new trial after he made a request for one under seal, according to a notice from the court.

“If I thought he’d done something that’d change the outcome inappropriately, I’d be the first to say,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said. Sure Lindsey.

Barr’s blunt warning that Trump’s constant Twitter commentary and meddling makes it impossible to do his job was a stunner. It set off a deluge of speculation about his motives and potential reprisals from Trump, who brooks no disloyalty. In an interview Barr said “I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”

Trump claims he has the right to intervene. Seems very few presidents ever did – if any. You don’t like the sentencing? Pardon the person after – which I am sure he will.

Trump abruptly withdrew the nomination for Jessie Liu, the former US attorney who headed the office that oversaw Roger Stone’s prosecution, to serve in a top Treasury Department position. Liu had been nominated in December to serve as the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes. Liu’s office inherited many of the major ongoing cases from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation. Liu submitted her resignation to the Treasury Department.

When Trump was asked what he learned from the impeachment ordeal he responded: “The Democrats are crooked… They got a lot of crooked things going. That they’re vicious. That they shouldn’t have brought impeachment.”

Regarding Stone “We have killers, we have murderers all over the place, nothing happens. And then they put a man in jail and destroy his life, his family, his wife, his children. Nine years in jail — it’s a disgrace.” Sounds like [of course] Stone did nothing wrong. Wouldn’t be surprised if he is pardoned at the end of the year.

The White House is preparing to present a budget that would not eliminate the federal deficit in the next 10 years. There will be a $4.8 trillion budget plan for 2021. US budget deficit ballooned past $1 trillion in 2019, marking the first time the country has crossed that threshold in a calendar year since 2012.

The deficit has continued to grow due in part to tax cuts and a two-year budget deal that has boosted federal spending under Trump. It’s swelled to $984 billion at the end of the last fiscal year, up from $665 billion during his first year in office in 2017. Only $2 billion was allocated to the funds for the Trump Wall – less than Congress approved. The Education Department budget will be cut by $6 billion.

As a candidate, Trump promised to “get rid of” the national debt, telling the Post in 2016 that he could make the US debt-free “over a period of eight years.”

Over 100 US service members have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries in the wake of the January 8 Iranian missile attack on the al Asad military base in Iraq. The Pentagon and Trump had initially said no service members were injured or killed in the Iranian missile attack. Approximately 200 people who were in the blast zone at the time of the attack have been screened for symptoms.

Last month, Trump said he does not consider potential brain injuries to be as serious as physical combat wounds, downplaying the severity of the injuries suffered in Iraq. “No, I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it’s not very serious,” Trump said.

Construction crews blowing up parts of a national monument to make way for the Trump Wall could be on the verge of destroying sacred burial sites. Controlled blasts began inside Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument recently which is adjacent to the monument.

Seems New Hampshire wasn’t thrilled with Trump. At one point, about 14% of Republican voters did not vote for him. Yet he will probably still say it was a landslide or a huge victory or whatever.

Trump tweeted “I would say that was the biggest political Rally in New Hampshire history. Incredible evening!” Without actually checking – if it is possible to check.

Amazon has asked a federal court for permission to get testimony from Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper as part of its ongoing protest over the Defense Department’s handling of a multibillion-dollar cloud computing contract. The document also seeks permission to depose former Defense Secretary James Mattis and what he may have known about Trump’s attitude toward the contract, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure.

Amazon argues in the document that the Pentagon’s explanation for awarding the contract to Microsoft left out “crucial information and details that led to this flawed and potentially detrimental decision regarding DoD’s future cloud infrastructure…. President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to use his position as President and Commander in Chief to interfere with government functions — including federal procurements — to advance his personal agenda.”

Last month, the company asked the court to block Microsoft from beginning work on the contract, which is valued at $10 billion over 10 years. The court has not decided whether to grant that request.

Seems Trump even couldn’t be true during his State of the Union address early this month.

Tony Rankins, a formerly homeless, drug-addicted Army veteran, got a standing ovation at the State of the Union after Trump described how he turned his life around thanks to a construction job at a company using the administration’s “Opportunity Zone” tax breaks targeting poor neighborhoods. But it isn’t quite true.

Rankins, who indeed moved out of his car and into an apartment since landing a job refurbishing a Nashville hotel two years ago, doesn’t work at a site taking advantage of the breaks and never has done so. In fact, he started that job four months before the Treasury Department published its final list of neighborhoods eligible for the breaks. And the hotel where he worked couldn’t benefit even now because it’s an area that didn’t make the cut.

Trump also praised Rankins’ employer, R Investments, for “working to help 200 people rise out of homelessness every year by investing in opportunity zones.” But it also isn’t quite true.

CEO Travis Steffens said he has hired hundreds of homeless to work at the 400 buildings the company has owned over the years, taking advantage of various tax breaks. But when it comes to Trump’s Opportunity Zone breaks, he said, the company has only one building tapping the program now, a warehouse in Cincinnati where no one seems to be working, homeless or otherwise.

Trump’s former communications director Hope Hicks is expected to return to the White House in an adviser role. Hicks will be working for Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner and others in a number of strategic areas. She supposedly left her chief communications officer at Fox Corporation after about 18 months. Her title will be “counselor to the president.” She’s just 31 years old.

As of the end of 2018, only 15% of the 268 items on Trump’s web site shop had a made in the US label. Some don’t have any. Recently, Mark Meadows, Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump Jr were seen sporting “Team Trump” windbreakers indoors [so on purpose]. So you think the windbreakers are American made? I doubt it.

Trump goes to Japan and still gets into trouble

On a long weekend [Memorial Day weekend] where Americans pay tribute to those who have fallen defending the country through various wars and Trump decides to visit Japan to do business, visit the new Emperor and play golf. And a reminder that Japan brought the US into World War II 78 years ago. Could he have chosen the following weekend?

Trump told reporters as he was preparing to leave he would be witnessing “something that hasn’t happened in over 200 years,” though didn’t specify what he meant. Nobody ever does.

While Japanese President Shinzo Abe took Barack Obama, to what is regarded as the best sushi restaurant in the world [Sukiyabashi Jiro], Abe will be taking Trump to a Japanese BBQ restaurant. I was expecting McDonald’s or Burger King.

No shock that Trump is whining that Japan is another country that has a big trade surplus over the US and Trump is thinking of dumping tariffs on Japanese made vehicles. It seems every country in the world has a trade surplus over the US – at least in Trump’s mind.

Tradition holds that American presidents and political candidates avoid politicking while on foreign soil, but Trump frequently disregards such norms. But Trump commented negatively against a fellow US politician by saying that he agreed with Kim Jong Un that Joe Biden has a low IQ. He is siding with a dictator over a former Vice-President. But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump “agrees” with the assessment. Is there a difference here? Trump also thinks that it is a “signal” that he will beat Biden if Biden wins the nomination. From a dictator?

In a press conference in Tokyo [something he doesn’t do in the US], Trump claims that there has been no testing done by North Korea recently. Wasn’t there one in mid-May? Trump also claimed that since he killed the arms deal with Iran, that Iran hasn’t been behind any terrorist activities and he claims Iran has economic issues. So why sending a fleet of ships towards Iran?

Trump said he also has no problem if North Korea fires off short range missiles [that will ultimately end up near Japan]. But National Security Adviser John Bolton says it is an issue.

An unidentified North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson called Bolton a “war monger”, “ignorant” hard-liner and “human defect” after he described its recent tests of short-range missiles as a violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Bolton told reporters in Tokyo on Saturday that there was “no doubt” that North Korea’s recent missile launches violated UN resolutions, and that sanctions against the North must be kept in place. Trump later downplayed the missile tests.

North Korea tested short-range ballistic missiles on May 4 and 9 – first time in 17+ months.

“I hereby award you the United States President’s Cup,” Trump told Asanoyama, the sumo champion, as he read from a scroll. Trump, Abe and wives went to a sumo wrestling match and didn’t sit on cushions as they usually do but chairs. Wondering if the trophy will end up on eBay. Trump managed to squeeze in some cheeseburgers for lunch yesterday with PM Abe. I wonder what Abe thought of this. In a foreign country. Can’t eat that country’s food?

Trump claimed in a tweet that “numerous” Japanese officials had told him that Democrats would rather see the US fail than see Trump or his Republican Party succeed.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller says that “If we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” His investigation could not clear President Donald Trump and that charging the President was not an option his office could consider. He emphasized that Justice Department guidelines did not allow him to charge a sitting President, and as a result, his office did not determine whether Trump had committed obstruction of justice.

House Judiciary chair Jerry Nadler said “He [Trump] is lying about the special counsel findings, lying about the testimony of key witnesses in the special counsel’s report, and above all, lying and saying that the special counsel found no obstruction and no collusion.” Trump previously said Mueller’s investigation found him innocent when Mueller’s investigation could not charge a sitting President.

Yet Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said “Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s remarks today confirmed what we already knew. There was no collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign, and there was no case for obstruction. President Trump has been fully and completely exonerated.”

Speaker of the House Pelosi says it is Congress’s duty to “investigate and hold the President accountable”. Many of the Democratic candidates for President have already said this pushes close to impeachment.

So if Trump thinks that he is still exonerated in the Russian investigation by Mueller, why did he send out the day after many tweets attacking Mueller? Trump said:

  • The investigation cost $40 million. The Justice Department estimates maybe $25 million but excludes the last 7 months.
  • Trump said, “Robert Mueller would have brought charges, if he had ANYTHING, but there were no charges to bring!” except by longstanding Justice Department guidelines which said that a sitting President can’t be indicted Trump said Mueller had “unlimited access, people, resources and cooperation,” except Trump and his son, Donald trump Jr., refused to answer any questions.
  • Trump said Mueller was “highly conflicted,” except the Justice Department cleared Mueller of any conflicts when he took the job in 2017.

Trump tweeted that he had “nothing to do with Russia helping me get elected,” then minutes later, telling reporters: “Russia did not help me get elected.” He also insisted that he’s been tough on Russia and that Moscow would have preferred Hillary Clinton as president [with no proof of this].

Asked about impeachment by Congress, he called it a “dirty word” and said he couldn’t imagine the courts allowing him to be impeached. “I don’t think so because there’s no crime,” he said. Except it is not the court that will impeach him but congress. Does he know anything about the constitution?

Attorney General William Barr has said he was surprised Mueller did not reach a conclusion, though Mueller in his report and again in his statement said he had no choice. Barr and then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein then stepped into the void, deciding on their own that the evidence was not sufficient to support a criminal charge.

Trump threatened to impose new tariffs on Mexico if the country does not step up its immigration enforcement actions, combining his boiling border-related frustrations with his preferred method of punishing foreign countries. Trump said in a White House statement that the first round of tariffs would begin on June 10 at 5% “on all goods imported from Mexico.”

The statement said Trump would carry out his threat under authority from the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and that he would lift tariffs only “if the illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico.” The news sent the Dow Jones dropping 300 point at one point the day after. In addition, it may push Mexico not to sign the new NAFTA agreement just as Canada is about ready to sign.

Vice-President Mike Pence visited Canada’s capitol, Ottawa [not Toronto], for a visit and chatted with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about trade, China, abortions, etc. Seems that US news site for the most part, didn’t know about it. I guess Pence’s boss is more interesting.

White House and lower-level US Navy officials traded emails about keeping a warship named from the late John McCain’s father and grandfather out of sight ahead of the President’s trip to Japan. Trump claimed he denied knowing about the plan and said that he wouldn’t have supported it. The ship ultimately was not moved nor was anything done to obscure McCain’s name. Petty.

Judge Haywood Gilliam of the Northern District of California blocked Trump from tapping into Defense Department funds to build parts of his Trump Wall. It blocks the administration from moving forward with specific projects in Texas and Arizona, saying Trump couldn’t disburse the funds without congressional approval. The ruling does not prevent the Trump administration from using funds from other sources to build the projects.

Current and former officials have described White House trips on Air Force One as grueling endeavors accompanied by long hours, but several privately said the flights overseas are easily the worst. The duration can stretch nearly 20 hours. Sleeping space is limited. The televisions are streaming Fox News constantly. And if the headlines flashing across the bottom of the screen are unfavorable to their boss, aides know it’s time to buckle up for a turbulent ride.

When staffers can sleep, finding space is a problem. With no designated sleeping spots, they claim miniature couches or lean back in office chairs and prop their feet up on the desk. Some spread out on the floors of conference rooms or on leather benches along the side of the plane, and more seasoned staffers have learned to bring yoga mats to soften the floor. Trump had promised to renovate Air Force One and the backup[s] but hasn’t.

Trump is scoffing at Democrats’ attempts to pry loose his tax returns, saying his refusal to release the records as a candidate didn’t hurt him in 2016 and voters “didn’t care” about the issue. Was this one of his “polls” where he asked one of staffers whether or not they care about his taxes and then used the answer as an assumption for all Americans?

Trump sends the military to Iran and battles the Democrats at home

Donald Trump warned Iran not to threaten the United States again or it’ll face its “official end,” shortly after a rocket landed near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad overnight. The Trump administration recently deployment of bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf over still-unspecified threats.

Trump has given his approval to Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan to deploy additional military resources to the Persian Gulf region to deter Iranian threats, according a senior US official. The new deployment includes Patriot missile batteries, reconnaissance aircraft and accompanying necessary forces to provide further deterrence against what the Pentagon believes is a rising Iranian threat against US troops in the region.

The Trump administration is considering using a pre-existing rule that would allow it to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia. A section of the Arms Control Act allows the White House to waive a traditional 30-day congressional notification period for arms sales if Trump declares an emergency, thereby preventing Congress from being able to put a hold on those arms deals.

Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy said if Trump took such a step, he would be exploiting an “obscure loophole” in arms control law and the result “would be a complete abuse of power.” Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, warned about the precedent the move could set, while Republican senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rand Paul of Kentucky said they opposed the idea.

Trump says he told Democratic leaders at the White House he couldn’t work with them while they were pursuing investigations into him and his administration. The meeting with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this morning on infrastructure. [Just cancel the meeting instead of wasting time. Of course it gives him time to watch Fox News and catch up on his tweeting.] Trump sort of claimed that Pelosi’s comment that it was a “cover-up” was his excuse to cancel the meeting as he wanted to discuss infrastructure. “I don’t do cover-ups,” Trump said.

Trump tweeted “Everything the Democrats are asking me for is based on an illegally started investigation that failed for them, especially when the Mueller Report came back with a NO COLLUSION finding. Now they say Impeach President Trump, even though he did nothin wrong, while they fish!” Yes. You can impeach someone for doing nothing. I don’t think the 25th amendment allows that. In addition, Mueller’s report didn’t exactly say Trump was completely innocent.

Pelosi has repeatedly shown hesitance – and flat out refusal – to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump. She has justified her position by saying that going after Trump is not “worth” the division impeachment would bring to the country.

Rejecting Pelosi’s characterization of his decision to scrap a meeting with Democrats because of their continued investigations as a “temper tantrum,” Trump accused Democratic officials of being “bad people,” referred to Pelosi as “crazy Nancy” and enlisted several White House officials to publicly corroborate his account that he had addressed Democrats calmly — and not in anger — the previous day.

“The Democrats have done nothing in the House, they’ve done absolutely nothing — I mean other than investigate. They want to investigate.” As for himself, Trump once again proclaimed: “I’m an extremely stable genius.”

Trump lashed out at the media by saying “This whole thing was a takedown attempt at the President of The United States. And honestly you ought to be ashamed of yourselves the way you report it so dishonestly.” [He didn’t call it treason…. Yet.]

Former White House counsel Don McGahn was scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee about the Mueller report – but he defied the committee’s subpoena and skipped the hearing.

“Let me be clear: This Committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said. “We will not allow the President to prevent the American people from hearing from this witness.” Nadler says he believes the episodes in the Mueller report would have led to Trump being charged with obstruction had he not been president, and that his obstruction has continued since the end of the Mueller probe.

Judge Amit Mehta of the DC District Court has told the accounting firm Mazars it will need to turn over Trump’s accounting records from before he was President to the Democratic-controlled House Oversight Committee. In a 41-page opinion, Mehta dealt a significant blow to the White House as he rejected Trump’s attempt to block the committee’s subpoena, asserting that Congress is well within its authority to investigate Trump.

Trump tweeted back with the usual comments when things go against him plus the judge was Obama appointed. Trump complained that Democrats are trying to “get a redo” on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and “The Democrats were very upset with the Mueller report, as perhaps they should be.”

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders argued that House Democrats have not accomplished anything legislatively while defending her boss in walking out of the talks. But House Democrats have also passed 235 pieces of legislation since January, including several major bills. Of those, only a handful have been taken up by the Republican-held Senate.

Of the bills that have passed, 17 were also passed by the Senate and became law, including legislation to end the shutdown, to address the Colorado River Drought, and address conservation and outdoor recreation.

Trump ordered all US intel agencies to assist Attorney General William Barr in his review of surveillance issues surrounding Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Trump has long maintained — without any evidence — that entities in the US government were “spying” on his campaign. Trump and his allies also want to know how the Russia investigation got started. Trump was particularly bothered by the subpoena for Hicks, who earned familial status in Trump’s eyes.

The House Judiciary Committee issued its latest subpoena for a top Trump aide to testify, this time setting its sights on his former communications director Hope Hicks [she’s an executive at Fox now]. They also issued a subpoena for Annie Donaldson, former chief of staff McGhan, who was deputy White House counsel, seeks documents and her appearance at a deposition in June.

Deutsche Bank’s anti-money laundering specialists once recommended that transactions involving entities controlled by Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a US agency that investigates financial crimes, according to a new report in the New York Times. The Times reports that Deutsche Bank employees flagged the transactions in 2016 and 2017, and that at least one of the reports involved the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which is now defunct.

Democrats in New York state passed a pair of bills that would allow Congress to get hold of Trump’s state tax returns amid an escalating fight with top administration officials over access to Trump’s federal returns.
Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen alleges that Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow knew that Cohen’s claim to Congress that the Trump Tower Moscow project ended in January 2016 was false, Cohen told the House Intelligence Committee in March. The claim comes from a transcript of the roughly 15 hours of closed-door testimony that Cohen gave the committee.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani also came to Sekulow’s defense, saying that he was “one of the very most ethical lawyers and honest men I have ever known.” Shockingly [not!] Giuliani then said “Michael Cohen is a serial liar. Cohen should be prosecuted for his blatant perjury before the House committee. Jay should receive the most effective and ethical lawyer of the year award.”

The Michael Flynn court records show that the fired first national security adviser helped Mueller’s investigation on at least three prongs: as the special counsel looked into interaction between the Trump transition team and Russia, WikiLeaks’ release of emails during the presidential campaign and the President’s efforts to interfere with the investigation.

Flynn also assisted the Eastern District of Virginia and prosecutors from the Justice Department’s National Security Division with a now-open case against his former lobbying partner, who allegedly worked illegally for Turkey.”

Trump responded with a tweet: “It now seems the General Flynn was under investigation long before was common knowledge.” Flynn isn’t under investigation. Trump, you are.

When Trump chose Rex Tillerson to be his secretary of state, he praised his “tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics.” In a tweet touting the pick, Trump called Tillerson “one of the truly great business leaders of the world.”

Now, he says “Rex Tillerson, a man who is ‘dumb as a rock’ and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) that I was out-prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany. I don’t think Putin would agree….” I don’t think Vladimir Poutine cares actually – maybe he’s just laughing at the show.

Why now? A reporter on the trip said “Trump has been presented with a large binder of preparation materials for his trip to Europe” for a G20 summit in Poland but didn’t bother reading much of it. This is typical since he barely reads any security reports. Tillerson said roughly the same thing recently. But meanwhile, Trump did hire him on 2016. So who’s fault is it for hiring this “dumb as a rock”?

Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas objected to passing a disaster relief bill, meaning the more than $19 billion in aid may not go to Trump’s desk for his signature before June. Roy cited the lack of money for the border and the $19 billion price tag as two reasons for his objection. Lawmakers had hoped to advance the bill using unanimous consent which would quickly pass it out of the chamber. But it only takes one person to object to unanimous consent.

I’m sure you will ask this question: What does money for Trump’s Wall got to do with a disaster relief bill – unless he considers Trump’s Wall a disaster – which it is. Surprisingly, Trump has said publicly that he would sign this bill even without the border funding he had previously requested.

The Trump Administration has proposed a rule that would roll back an Obamacare regulation that prohibits discrimination against patients who are transgender or have previously undergone an abortion. Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act “prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs and activities.”

A Republican congressman Justin Amash became the first member of Trump’s party on Capitol Hill to accuse him of engaging in “impeachable conduct” stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s lengthy investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He stopped short of calling on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, which many Democrats have been agitating for. No shocker, Trump lashed out at him.

Canada and the US came to an agreement regarding the removal of tariffs that the Trump admission put on Canada and Canada responded in the spring of 2018. Gone are importing of Canadian steel and aluminum tariffs and [ummmm] playing cards, licorice and bourbon have officially been lifted. This may allow the upgraded NAFTA agreement to be passed by the Canadian government.

Canada had also had retaliatory tariffs slapped extra import duties on aluminum and steel coming from the United States but also 75 other products including sleeping bags, toilet paper, soy sauce and ketchup.

At a Montoursville, Pennsylvania rally recently, Trump said:

  • “Man, this is a lot of people.” – Why on earth show up in the middle of nowhere to a rally where the town’s population is 4,000.
  • And then “I think next time we’ll just have to get a bigger hanger….”
  • “Crazy. You’ve got a thing called the sun. We like the sun better than the artificial not sun.” Huh?
  • “Do we keep our logo? Do we keep our slogan? Make America Great Again or it’s very risky. Changing the most successful slogan has to be.” How do you measure the success of a slogan?
  • “Oh, we have the most beautiful fighter jets in the world being delivered now every day.” He likes to say the word “beautiful”. Probably would say it about poop as well.
  • “And you know what, if we aren’t smart it will end for you with the Second Amendment.” There is no one on record favoring the removal of the amendment.

[Sidebar: National Constitution Center: “In simple odds, the chance of any constitutional amendment being repealed would be roughly the same as a person living to 80 years old being struck by lightning during their lifetime, according to National Weather Service data.”]

  • “They want to knock down all buildings in Manhattan and rebuild them without windows.” What New York City has proposed is retrofitting buildings of 25,000 square feet or more to make them more energy-efficient.
  • “We’ve lost 60,000, not jobs, listen to this. Sixty thousand factories, here’s the good news. We’re building them all back. They’re coming back. All coming back.” 60,000 FACTORIES lost because of NAFTA are coming back?
  • “Look at the thousands and thousands of people we have, now he said he had 600 people.” He was comparing his crowd and not that large versus former Vice President Joe Biden crowd in Philadelphia – estimated at 6,000.
  • “And don’t forget Biden deserted you. He’s not from Pennsylvania. I guess he was born here, but he left you folks. He left you for another state.” Biden left his home state of Pennsylvania when he was 10 years old! Not much of a choice for him. Not really sure that counts as having “deserted” the people of Pennsylvania.
  • “Our country is full. We don’t want people coming up here. Our country is full. We want Mexico to stop….” Is he said he doesn’t want immigrants in general or just Mexicans? I’m sure he’ll accept wealthy foreigners.
  • “We passed a largest package of tax cuts in the history of our country.” Except some found out they are still paying more than the previous year. Only the wealthy got reductions across the board.

Obstruction, tariffs, and subpoenas

Special counsel Robert Mueller announced that he would appear before the House Judiciary Committee tentatively on May 15th. That’s the date the Committee has proposed, and are hoping the Special Counsel will agree to it. The denial comes after two missed deadlines by the Treasury secretary, who has previously called the request by House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal under an obscure statute of tax law “unprecedented.”

Donald Trump said Mueller should not appear before the committee just two days after telling reporters Attorney General William Barr should make that decision. Trump questioned why Mueller needs to testify after spending 2 years on his report. He, of course, had to throw in that there was no collusion or obstruction or the other usuals.

The White House has instructed former White House Counsel Don McGahn not to comply with a subpoena for documents and testimony related to the committee’s obstruction of justice investigation from House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, teeing up the latest in a series of escalating oversight showdowns between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats.

McGahn’s decision not to comply with the subpoena could push Nadler to hold McGahn in contempt of Congress, just as he’s moving to do with Attorney General William Barr after the Justice Department defied a subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote to Nadler directing the committee to request the documents from the White House, and not McGahn.

The White House requested that McGahn publicly state that Trump didn’t obstruct justice, but McGahn declined. McGahn previously told Mueller’s investigators he didn’t believe Trump obstructed justice.

The Justice Department has informed Nadler that the “President has asserted executive privilege over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials” and called the vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress “politically motivated and unnecessary.”

Nadler accused Barr of turning the Department of Justice “into an instrument of Trump personally rather than an instrument of justice and representative of the United States.” The House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. for him to return and testify again, and the committee is now at a standoff with Trump’s eldest son. One option Trump Jr. is considering in response to the subpoena is to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights, and another is just to not appear at all.

The subpoena for Trump Jr.’s testimony marks an escalation of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe into Russian election interference. The committee has recently begun re-interviewing witnesses, including Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who appeared for a second time earlier this year.

Hundreds of former Justice Department officials said in an open letter that Trump would be facing multiple felony charges stemming from the Russia investigation if he were not President.

The letter posted online by Justice Department alumni, who served under presidents from both parties, said the report from special counsel Robert Mueller contained repeated instances of Trump committing obstruction of justice, and that he would have been charged with obstruction if he was not protected as President by an opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that Mueller cited.

Trump has escalated its trade war with China, hiking tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports hours after trade talks held in Washington failed to produce a breakthrough. Tariffs on the targeted exports increased from 10% to 25% at 12:01 a.m. ET on Friday, prompting a swift rebuke from Beijing. Last minute negotiations failed. Trump said the new tariffs were because China “broke the deal.” It seems China is backtracking on commitments to change laws over intellectual property and trade secrets, competition policy, and currency manipulation. Of course Trump claimed Iran has broken the nuclear deal – with nothing proven.

The American Apparel and Footwear Association estimates that a 25% tariff on apparel imports will increase costs for a family of four by $500 a year. If Trump thinks that this round of tariffs will help the American economy, he’s dreaming. Probably job losses because of higher prices. Limited manufacturing jobs as good luck in building a new factory to make more expensive shoes so fast.

Trump hoped to force China to further open its market to US exports, stop the forced sharing of intellectual property with China, and rewrite trade deals he said have unfairly benefited Beijing. The Chinese economy is fundamentally more vulnerable than that of the US. If China retaliates it could make quite a few things more expensive such as toys, shoes and iPhones [oh well].

The Trump Administration ordered the Pentagon to deploy a carrier and a bomber task force to the Middle East in order to send a message to Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it was for security issues or threats that involve Iran and US allies in the region. Then Pompeo abruptly canceled a scheduled trip to Germany where he was planning to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel “due to pressing issues,” the State Department. In both cases, no specific explanation was given.

Iran announced it was partially withdrawing from a landmark nuclear deal, marking a serious escalation in Tehran’s faceoff with Trump and the United States. President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech that Iran would reduce its “commitments” to the deal, but would not fully withdraw, amid heightened pressure from the US in recent weeks.

Rouhani said Iran will keep its excess enriched uranium and heavy water, rather than sell it to other countries as previously agreed to limit its stockpile. The move comes a year after the US unilaterally withdrew from the deal, over the stringent objections of other signatories.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied a request from House Democrats for access to six years of Trump’s personal tax returns. “I am informing you now that the Department may not lawfully fulfill the Committee’s request,” Mnuchin wrote in his letter, written in consultation with lawyers from the Department of Justice.

Democrats initially directed their request to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, the only person with the legal authority to turn over the returns, but Mnuchin has interceded twice in the matter, citing his role overseeing the federal tax collector.

The Trump administration is considering deporting migrant families with court-ordered removals, a move that senior Department of Homeland Security officials have resisted in the past. The idea, described as a way to “send a message” to smugglers, is “under serious consideration.” The Department of Homeland Security, suffering from a lack of resources, is unable to deport all those who are ordered to be removed from the country and has said it focuses on the people it deems the most dangerous.

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens accused Trump of exceeding his presidential powers in an interview published Thursday, telling The Wall Street Journal that Trump “has to comply with subpoenas.” Stevens, who served on the Supreme Court from his appointment by President Gerald Ford in 1975 until his retirement in 2010, is a lifelong Republican whose rulings often leaned left.

The Pentagon has diverted an additional $1.5 billion in Defense Department funds from various accounts in order to fund the Trump Wall, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said and has found a way to reprogram the $1.5 billion without harming readiness. However, he added that the Pentagon wouldn’t be diverting any more funds to the wall.

In 1985, Trump reported losses of $46.1 million from his core businesses – largely casinos, hotels and retail space in apartment buildings. They continued to lose money every year, totaling $1.17 billion in losses for the decade. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer. His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 – more than $250 million each year – were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years.

Trump responded in a series of tweets by saying “Real estate developers in the 1980’s & 1990’s, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases. Much was non monetary. Sometimes considered ‘tax shelter,’ you would get it by building, or even buying.” Doesn’t sound like his tweeting. Too adult like wording.

He’s cheating his own government with tax shelters. If this was another businessman, would Trump as President allow this to continue or send off abusive tweets.

This can’t end well. Trump has laid tentative plans to upend the traditional Fourth of July celebrations in Washington, moving the fireworks show from the National Mall and perhaps including an address from Trump himself. Major backlash if he goes political. The fireworks display on the Mall has been a time-honored nonpartisan tradition for nearly half a century. The plans involve moving the fireworks show closer to the Potomac River and adding a second stage for entertainment.

“Despite the tremendous success that I have had as President, including perhaps the greatest ECONOMY and most successful first two years of any President in history, they have stollen [sic] two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back…..,” Trump said in a tweet. Stolen? He didn’t do much. So very little can be “stollen”.

At a rally in Florida, Trump said “And don’t forget, we don’t let them and we can’t let them use weapons. We can’t. Other countries do. We can’t. I would never do that. But how do you stop these people?” Someone in the audience interrupted Trump, shouting: “Shoot them!” With Trump replying “That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement.”

In the sports section…

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora will not join the team during its visit to the White House soon because of displeasure with the Trump administration’s relief efforts in Puerto Rico. There were parts of the country without power for almost a year, and nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico alone as the result of the hurricane. A few other players will also not attend.

At the Kentucky Derby, after the horse Maximum Security was disqualified for having illegally impeded other horses, Trump had to give his 2 cents work by saying “”The Kentucky Derby decision was not a good one” and “Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby – not even close!” Ummm. “Political correctness”?

After Facebook barred seven users from its services, citing its policies against “dangerous individuals and organizations,” Trump is siding with the people who were banned and railing against social media “censorship”. In various tweets he said “It’s getting worse and worse for Conservatives on social media!” He ignored the fact that some of the banned users are extremists who make a living by deceiving their fans.

Legal issues for Trump continue

It was a relatively quiet week for Donald Trump. But you know that can change quite fast.

Trump accused the New York attorney general’s office of illegally investigating the National Rifle Association. “The NRA is under siege by (New York Gov. Andrew) Cuomo and the New York State A.G., who are illegally using the State’s legal apparatus to take down and destroy this very important organization, & others.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office announced in a statement it had launched an investigation into the NRA and had issued subpoenas to the organization, but did not confirm what the probe was in regard to. The investigation could be about chief executive officer, Wayne LaPierre, for financial misconduct where LaPierre improperly used $200,000 of NRA funds to purchase clothing from an NRA vendor. Another example of Trump’s obstruction of justice and him using his power to help friends.

Trump, three of his children — Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka — and his business are suing two banks to block them from turning over financial records to congressional committees that have issued subpoenas for the information. “The subpoenas were issued to harass President Donald J. Trump, to rummage through every aspect of his personal finances, his businesses, and the private information of the President and his family….” Trump’s attorneys wrote in the complaint.

The lawsuit in New York’s Southern District claims that the subpoenas the House Intelligence Committee and House Financial Services Committee sent to Deutsche Bank and Capital One aren’t valid because they violate banking privacy law and they are not for shaping legislation. Yet at least one other court has said previously that claims like those can’t stop congressional subpoenas.

Seems Robert Mueller is not happy with Barr’s summary report, saying in a letter to Attorney General William Barr: “As we stated in our meeting of March 5 and reiterated to the Department early in the afternoon of March 24, the introductions and executive summaries of our two-volume report accurately summarize this Office’s work and conclusions. The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions. We communicated that concern to the Department on the morning of March 25.”

It took around 3 weeks from the time Mueller’s report was sent to Barr and Barr released his shortened version of the report. Between then, Barr claimed that Trump was vindicated but Barr’s version left out many key findings and didn’t summarize the right findings in others. Barr has since been grilled in a Congressional committee and now may not answer further questions but could be charged with contempt.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler sent his latest offer Attorney General William Barr to try to reach an agreement in his effort to obtain the unredacted special counsel report and the underlying evidence before Nadler moves forward with holding the attorney general in contempt of Congress.

Trump indicated that he’s not willing to allow former White House counsel Don McGahn — a key figure in the Robert Mueller report and Trump’s efforts to obstruct the investigation — to testify before Congress. So more obstruction of justice.

White House counselor Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway said that Trump could use executive privilege to block McGahn from complying with a congressional subpoena. McGahn was a key player with direct knowledge about Trump’s efforts to undermine the Russia probe.

Trump and Russian President Vladimir Poutine spoke by telephone for “over an hour,” during which they briefly discussed special counsel Mueller’s report and other issues, White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said. I’m sure there was Trump saying “There was no collusion with you but of course there was.”

In a Kremlin’s readout, Poutine warned Trump against “outside interference” in Venezuelan affairs, saying such efforts would “undermine the prospects for a political settlement of the crisis.” Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro was ready to leave the country when Russia told him to stay put. That’s not outside interference? The Kremlin denied this.

The Democrats agree with Trump on a $2 trillion infrastructure bill but may not pass the senate as GOP senators are balking because warn that they will oppose any measure that adds to the deficit. You think Trump will still whine that the Democrats aren’t working with him? The agreement calls for a 35 cent a liter tax to help. Republican lawmakers were not invited to the White House meeting that involved Trump and Democrat leaders that hammered out the agreement.

The city of San Francisco is suing the Trump administration over its new rule protecting religious providers when they object to providing certain types of care. The lawsuit claims the administration’s rule will restrict access to contraception, abortion, HIV treatment and a host of other medical services.

Economic commentator Stephen Moore has withdrawn his name from consideration to sit on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Moore previously said that women should be banned from refereeing, announcing or beer vending at men’s college basketball games, asking if there was any area in life “where men can take vacation from women.” In a 2000 column, Moore complained about his wife voting for Democrats, writing, “Women are sooo malleable! No wonder there’s a gender gap.” And there are other gender comments that aren’t good either. Too many Republican senators are against him to win the bid.

Joseph Yun, the former State Department Special Representative for North Korea, confirmed that he signed an agreement to pay North Korea $2 million for the release of American student Otto Warmbier in 2017. He did so with the approval of then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and that it was his understanding Trump had also signed off on the decision. But the Trump administration has said no money has been paid for release of Warmbier.

White House national security adviser John Bolton also confirmed that Yun signed a document pledging $2 million for Warmbier’s release and that the US has not made any payments. It happened before Bolton joined the administration.

Recently Trump tweeted, “‘Donald J. Trump is the greatest hostage negotiator that I know of in the history of the United States. 20 hostages, many in impossible circumstances, have been released in last two years. No money was paid.’ Cheif (sic) Hostage Negotiator, USA!” It is one thing he can probably be proud of in this less than stellar administration.

At a Wisconsin rally, Trump’s claimed that mothers and doctors are permitted to execute a baby after it leaves the womb. Obviously false. The bill he referred to would mandate that health professionals do all they could to keep a baby alive if it was “born alive” and would penalize anyone who let a baby die [after the baby was born].

Wisconsin governor, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, planned to veto a GOP-backed state bill that could have meant life sentences in prison for doctors who intentionally did not provide medical care to babies born alive after a failed abortion but Trump [maybe confusing the two or not] said “shockingly stated that he [Evers] will veto legislation that protects Wisconsin babies born alive.” The legislation doesn’t say that.

US deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein submitted his resignation, ending a two-year run defined by his appointment of a special counsel to investigate connections between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. His last day will be May 11. The departure had been expected since the confirmation of William Barr as attorney general in February.

Trump, upset that a major firefighters union have endorsed Joe Biden, went on a Twitter storm, sending out about 60 tweet, many related to the endorsement for Biden and claiming that many firefighters support him. No actual proof of course. He even tweeted “I’ve done more for Firefighters than this dues sucking union will ever do, and I get paid ZERO!” Doesn’t help him.

The White House Correspondents’ Association came and went with no comedian. Trump of course still skipped the dinner even if no one was expected to roast and filet him. He ended up at a rally in poor Wisconsin.

Presidential historian Ron Chernow gave a speech in lieu of a comedian. Among Chernow’s jokes:

  • “I was puzzled by this news [Trump banning anyone in his administration from attending], but then I learned a rumor was circulating in Washington that I was going to be reading from the redacted sections of the Mueller report and everything was explained.”
  • While referencing Trump’s recent comment that America “is full” when speaking about immigration, joked that Alexander Hamilton [from the musical “Hamilton”] was an immigrant who arrived, “thank God, before the country was full.” He added, “Frankly I don’t know why they let the guy in, clearly someone slipped up at the southern border.”
  • “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.” Chernow remarked, “As best I can tell, [George] Washington committed only one major blunder as President: He failed to put his name on Mount Vernon and thereby bungled an early opportunity at branding.” He wryly added, “Clearly deficient at the art of the deal, the poor man had to settle at the lowly title of ‘Father of his Country.'”
  • Chernow finished his speech by paraphrasing a line by Mark Twain: “Politicians and diapers must be changed often — and for the same reason.”

Trump has now said more than 10,000 false or misleading things [said or tweets] in his first 827 days in office, according to The Washington Post Fact Checker – or just over 12 per day [one every 2 hours]. In just 3 days from April 25-27 [at a rally and the NRA conference], he 171 in those 3 days alone. The last seven months have 3 times the rate of his first 600 days.

The University of Virginia men’s basketball team will not be celebrating its national championship with Trump at the White House, per a statement from the head coach. “With several players either pursuing pro opportunities or moving on from UVA, it would be difficult, if not impossible to get everyone back together. We would have to respectfully decline an invitation,” Bennett said in the statement.

The Baylor women’s basketball team, whose members also became national champions this year, announced Wednesday that it would be attending a ceremony at the White House that will include Trump.

In a poll commissioned by CNN, Trump’s approval rating actually as at its highest [at 43%] in over 2 years. When you scratch your head, don’t take out too much hair – if you have hair. In addition 44% of Democrats and 46% of independents believe the Democrats are going too far to investigate Trump.

About two-thirds still say Trump ought to release his tax returns (66%, including 52% who consider it important for a president to do) and 54%, say the President is not doing enough to cooperate with Democratic investigations. 37% say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, 59% say they do not feel that way.

A quiet-ish week for Trump

It was less than a day when Donald Trump went from “total exoneration” and “Game over, folks,” to “bullsh_t” as Robert Mueller’s report portrayed Trump as deceitful and paranoid, encouraging his aides to withhold the truth and cross ethical lines in an attempt to thwart a probe into Russia’s interference in US elections.

Now Trump is newly furious at the people — most of whom no longer work for him — whose extensive interviews with the special counsel’s office created the epic depiction of an unscrupulous and chaotic White House. He’s is seeking assurances from those who remain that his orders are being treated like those of a president, and not like suggestions from an intemperate but misguided supervisor.

Trump was aware ahead of its public release what was contained in the Mueller report. Attorney General William Barr told reporters Thursday that both the White House counsel and Trump’s personal legal team were given an opportunity to read the redacted version in the previous days.

In the report, press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders, who was out the office when the report was released, is shown repeatedly misleading the press, a fact she attempted to downplay in morning television interviews. Tell me something we don’t know!

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani insisted Trump’s 2016 campaign did nothing wrong by taking information from the Russians. Giuliani called the Trump campaign’s effort to get political help from representatives of the Russian government possibly ill-advised but not illegal. Nevertheless, he said “there’s no crime.” This from a lawyer who has repeatedly made judgements that were counter to laws.

Sen. Mitt Romney said in a statement on Twitter that he was “sickened” by the findings in Mueller’s report that cited details on how the Trump campaign welcomed political dirt from Russia.

No shocker that Trump criticized Romney for his comment by saying if Romney “spent the same energy fighting Barack Obama as he does fighting Donald Trump, he could have won the race (maybe)!” In 2012 Romney won a slightly greater percentage of the popular vote than Trump in 2016 but President Obama won the election.

To end the week, Trump announced that he would revoke America’s status as a signatory of the arms trade treaty regulating conventional weapons including small arms, battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships. The US signed the treaty in 2013 but never ratified it. The NRA [where he announced it] has long claimed the treaty poses a threat to the second amendment. Of course it will help his buddies sell more arms.

Trump, of course, off script when he came across a line about pharmaceutical companies “rigging the system” when it comes to pricing drugs more cheaply overseas than they do domestically. “Many drug companies are giving European countries a better deal than they give their own country, and that has to stop,” Trump said. Yes. He know with so much facts that US companies are giving European countries better deals. It’s called buying in bulk.

“Well the subpoena is ridiculous,” Trump said when asked what he plans to do in response to the subpoenas. In the days since special counsel Robert Mueller’s full reported was released, Congressional Democrats have started their own investigations and have begun issuing subpoenas. Yet there is little he can do – otherwise hit with an obstruction of justice charge.

As former Vice President Joe Biden entered the Democratic nominee race, Trump defended his equivocating comments [“people that were very fine people on both sides”] following white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, saying that he was referring to supporters of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee when he said there were “fine people” on both sides. He just loves changing what he meant – even almost 2 years later. If he meant something different why didn’t he say it earlier? He never specified Lee until now.

Trump also said that Biden and other presidential candidates are making him “look very young.” Trump is 72, Biden is 76. Not much difference. Bernie Sanders is 77. Elizabeth Warren is 69. Jay Inslee is 68. John Hickenlooper is 67. Everyone else are in their 30s to 50s. So Trump is the third oldest. He probably is also one of the least healthiest – known to be at least a bit overweight.

From an interview with Fox News, Trump said:

  • “But we have a fantastic [health care] plan that we’ll be rolling out and subject to us winning back the House, keeping the presidency…” So where’s the plan? Doesn’t exist.
  • Trump claimed that three reporters [two from Fox] should get Pulitzers. They favorably report about him.
  • “… these are the top people at the FBI where you had absolute dirty cops” and then said ” I know FBI guys, these are the best in the world”. The US must have two FBI agencies.
  • “So, I really say, now we have to get down because this was a coup. This was an attempted overthrow of the United States government.” I’d like to see who have been arrested for the “coup”. Nobody. Does he know the definition of a coup [as well as treason]?
  • “This was a coup… This was an attempted coup.” So which is it?
  • For the coup “I think it’s far bigger than Watergate.” Yes. He’s an expert. 45 years ago, he was probably too busy ripping people off.
  • “It was like a one-sided witch-hunt as I called it.” Isn’t it usually that?
  • “The fake dossier which even ‘The New York Times’ now says was fake…” This was the same New York Times which he has previously gone after continuously. So they are good when it suits him and bad otherwise.
  • “We have fighter jets, the F- 35, the F-18. We have jets the likes which no country has at all.” Except they have been sold to other countries. Canada, Saudi Arabia, …
  • “I could have fired Mueller. I could have fired anybody that I wanted to fire, Article 2.” Mueller can only be fired for good cause. “Article 2” in the constitution says nothing about who he can fire.

At a recent conference, Trump touted his administration’s border security efforts, including a southern border wall, as a great deterrent to drug smuggling. Trump called the US’s immigration laws “horrible, obsolete, weak, pathetic” and blamed the Democrats for not changing them. And who’s been in office for over 2 years with 2 years of that with a Republican majority in the House and Senate?

At one point this week, Trump was on a mega tweet storm. How big? Trump has tweeted [and retweeted] 52 tweets. In about a 30 minute span at one point, he retweeted 24 items — about nine different topics and from 15 people. The retweets came from all of is favorites. The tweets were mostly from the usual topics: Robert Mueller Report, immigration, collusion, obstruction, etc.

Trump told the NRA that he, “didn’t need a gun” to stop what he called a “coup.” He called them “bad apples” and claimed that they resigned. Those that seem to have resigned are from his administration. He said “We are taking power out of Washington DC and returning it to the people where they belong… taking place at the highest levels… Corruption at the highest levels” and mentioned “spying”.

Trump tweeted “No Collusion, No Obstruction – there has NEVER been a President who has been more transparent….” Would love to know how he measures that.

Trump also tweeted that Twitter has a liberal bias and does everything it can to make it harder for conservatives to use the platform. [He offered no specific, fact-based examples.]Maybe it’s because some conservatives don’t know how to type or know what Twitter is.

Trump lived with a poodle, Chappy, with his first wife, Ivana, who wrote in her memoir, “Raising Trump,” that “Donald was not a dog fan.” Chappy, she later said, “had an equal dislike of Donald.”

Trump held a briefing for the children of reporters on Take Your Child to Work Day. He went after the kids’ parents by saying “I like you more”. You don’t talk about a parent in front of a child.

Iowa’s longest-serving Republican state lawmaker, Andy McKean, is ditching the party in a protest of what he called President Donald Trump’s “unacceptable behavior” and is joining the Democrats. McKean, a moderate from eastern Iowa whose 29 years in the legislature include stints in the House and Senate, announced his party switch.

Redacted Mueller Report released

A redacted but more detailed version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was finally released.

One section is damning as it does not exonerate him from obstruction of justice — the charge at the heart of Presidents Nixon’s and Clinton’s impeachment processes. The Mueller team found multiple instances where Donald Trump tried to stifle a legitimate investigation into his own conduct. Very often the only thing that saved him were advisers who wouldn’t do what he wanted done.

Much of the news we have been reading was accurate, not fake — about the Trump Tower project, about the contacts between campaign officials and individuals connected with Russia, and about the President’s efforts to fire Mueller.

In the report:

  • Mueller concludes that Russian operatives did interfere in the 2016 presidential campaign by hacking into the computers of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and releasing stolen emails to WikiLeaks, as well as by disparaging Clinton and promoting Trump in an organized social media campaign.
  • The report also makes note of “numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.”
  • Mueller wrote his investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
  • Russian government operatives and business leaders continued to try to woo the Trump team following the election.
  • Mueller wrote that written answers Trump provided his team were deemed “inadequate,” but prosecutors decided not to press him further, which would have meant issuing a subpoena and likely starting a long legal battle if the president refused to grant a formal interview.
  • Investigators were unable to get “a complete picture of the activities undertaken by subjects of the investigation,” Mueller wrote. A number of reasons were cited for this, including people refusing to give information that would incriminate themselves, witnesses providing “false or incomplete” testimony, and other witnesses deleting emails or otherwise not retaining relevant communications.

Multiple Trump aides and advisors refused to do requests from Trump that they knew would be illegal or cause further problems. This includes requests to fire Mueller or find ways to slow the investigation down.

Mueller added that Trump “does not have immunity after he leaves office” and that his team “conducted a thorough factual investigation in order to preserve the evidence when memories were fresh and documentary materials were available.” The wording raises the remote specter of possible future criminal exposure for Trump when he is no longer in the White House. It isn’t the only criminal inquiry looming over him.

Attorney General William Barr and the Department of Justice demonstrated that they couldn’t be independent with Barr’s biased interpretation of the report according to some.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, issued a subpoena for the unredacted report as Congress escalates its investigation of Trump.

Mueller’s report provides fresh evidence of Trump’s interference in the Russia investigation and challenges lawmakers to respond.

Trump, taking a public victory lap, declaring at a White House event that he was having “a good day” after the report was released. Did he read a good comic book in the washroom again?

Some of Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill were satisfied, without reading the report, that Trump came out a clear winner — exonerated because he was not prosecuted.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said “the report itself is nothing more than an attempt to rehash old allegations” and insisted that “the results of the investigation are a total victory for the president.” Unsure what report he read. Did he get his law degree out of a cracker jack box?

“We’re accepting apologies today, too,” White House adviser Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway told reporters, adding that Trump watched Barr, talked to his lawyers and was in “a great mood.”

Trump went after Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar when Trump retweet of a video that purports to show the Minnesota Democrat being dismissive of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The text shown was placed out of context. Democrats have criticized Trump over the tweet, with some accusing him of trying to incite violence. Security was added to Omar and her staff.

The White House defended Trump, saying that he has a duty to highlight Omar’s history of making comments that others find offensive and that he wished no “ill will” upon the first-term lawmaker. But the retweet was later pulled particularly after there were threats against Omar’s life [one individual in New York was arrested already].

In the video she said “some people did something” [instead of using a word like terrorists]. But President George W. Bush also used the word “people” just days after 9/11.

“The bigger question is why aren’t Democrats doing the same thing? It’s absolutely abhorrent the comments that she continues to make and has made and they look the other way,” said White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders. Omar has made some comments about Israel and Jews in the past but have stopped making them. Unsure what Sanders means by “continues” as if it is still happening.

When the fire in the cathedral in Paris was raging, Trump had commented that they should use water bombers to put out the fire. Diplomatically [something Trump knows little about], in a tweet, French fire security authorities said by using a water bomber [or equivalent], the water would cause further infrastructure damage with the force of the water. But what do they know….

It took a bit over 2 years for Trump to veto his first legislation and under a month to veto his second when he did so by vetoing legislation to end the US involvement in the war in Yemen.

The European Union has threatened tariffs on US goods including cheese, ketchup and fish because of a long-running dispute over aircraft subsidies. The bloc released a list of American products worth around $20 billion that could be targeted over US subsidies given to Boeing. Not good for Heinz-Kraft.

Sanders said that she doesn’t think congressional Democrats are “smart enough” to review Trump’s tax returns should they succeed in obtaining the documents. “My guess is most of them don’t do their own taxes, and I certainly don’t trust them to look through the decades of success that the President has and determine anything,” she said. So is she saying most Republicans do their own taxes?

Canada and Japan has formally joined a German-French coalition aimed at saving the international world order from destruction by various world dictators and autocrats — and Trump.

Trump already managed to pull in $30 million in his first 90 days of this year for his campaign re-election. For the Democrats [remember that there are at least 15 candidates]. Bernie Sanders has pulled in $18 million after 41 days and Kamala Harris has pulled in $12 million.

At least 3 FBI web sites were hacked recently and downloaded the contents of each web server. The hackers then put the data up for download on their own website. The spreadsheets contained about 4,000 unique records after duplicates were removed, including member names, a mix of personal and government email addresses, job titles, phone numbers and their postal addresses.

Immigration battle heats up even after more administration departures

There hasn’t been too many going through the revolving door in the past little while but it changed when Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of Homeland Security, was [from what it looks like was] fired by Trump. She came to the White House recently supposedly to discuss immigration and border issues and walked out without a job. Right away, Donald Trump name Kevin McAleenan, the current US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, to replace her. So that shows that she didn’t resign but was forced out.

The departure comes just days after Trump suddenly withdrew the nomination of Ron Vitiello for Immigration and Customs Enforcement director, blindsiding the Department of Homeland Security. Nielsen was unaware what was happening until after the nomination had been pulled. Trump was not pleased with Nielsen’s performance the past few weeks. But is he ever happy when things don’t go his way?

United States Secret Service director Randolph “Tex” Alles is being removed from his position. Trump instructed his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to fire Alles. Alles remains in his position as of now but has been asked to leave. Secret Service officials have been caught by surprise with the news. White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said that Trump has picked James M. Murray, a career USSS official, to replace Alles.

Alles was under recently fired Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen. Also under DoHS, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services director Francis Cissna and Office of the General Counsel’s John Mitnick are expected to be gone soon.

The Trump administration pressured the Department of Homeland Security to release immigrants detained at the southern border into so-called sanctuary cities in part to retaliate against Democrats who oppose Trump’s plans for a border wall. Trump personally pushed former Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen to follow through on the plan. Nielsen resisted and the DHS legal team eventually produced an analysis that killed the plan.

Already, fellow Republicans aren’t happy and legal experts are saying the dumping of immigrants in sanctuary cities is illegal.

Trump told reporters that his administration is not looking to resume the separation of parents and children at the US-Mexico border, denying reports that it is something he has been pushing for. Trump had had been pushing then-Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to enforce a stricter and more widespread “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. [Except when he denies these issue, they are generally true.]

Trump wanted families separated even if they came in at a legal port of entry and were legal asylum seekers and he wanted families separated even if they were apprehended within the US. He thinks the separations work to deter migrants from coming.

Trump also blamed the policy on the Obama administration. “President Obama separated children. I was the one who that changed it,” he claimed falsely. Under President Barack Obama, the Justice Department was given broad discretion on who should face criminal charges, and federal prosecutors rarely went after families.

In April 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department would prosecute 100% of illegal border-crossers in a policy known as “zero-tolerance.” Adults went to jails and awaited criminal proceedings while children were sent to detention centers run by the Department of Health and Human Services, and some were eventually placed in foster care. This specific change is what led to the widespread separation of parents and children.

Another option is the “binary choice” proposal where it puts that decision of separation in the hands of parents. What do you think the parents would want to do if had a choice?

Trump whined again about having the worst immigration laws. He then blames the Democrats but he had 2 years of a Republican controlled Congress. So why didn’t he do it then when he theoretically could pass a new law?

Trump called the asylum program “a scam,” alleging that lawyers coach tough, violent men through the process. “Some of the roughest people you’ve ever seen, people that look like they should be fighting for the Ultimate Fighting Championship… They read a little page given by lawyers that are all over the place.”

Attorney General William Barr told lawmakers that he will be looking to the “genesis” of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into potential ties between members of Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government began in 2016, saying, “I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal” but declining to elaborate on his concerns.

Democrats are worried that Barr is bending to the Trump’s demands and have called on Barr to release an unredacted version of the special counsel’s confidential report on the Russia investigation to Congress.
Trump said that Barr was doing a “great job” and “getting started on going back to the origins on where exactly this all started because it was an illegal witch hunt. …. This was an attempted coup, this was an attempted take-down of a president.” Does he know the definition of a coup?

Federal investigators in New York have “gathered more evidence than previously known” from individuals in the President’s “inner circle,” related to the hush-money payments made to two women who claim they had affairs with Trump. Investigators “learned of calls” between Keith Schiller, Trump’s longtime bodyguard, and David Pecker, the head of American Media Inc., the company that publishes the National Enquirer.

Trump still doesn’t want to release his tax returns. “There is no law, as you know, I got elected last time with the same issue and while I’m under audit, I won’t do it. If I’m not under audit, I would do it, I have no problem with it, but while I’m under audit, I would not give my taxes,” Trump said. That is one long audit!

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sent a very clear message to Trump: Stop picking problematic nominees and asking the Senate to confirm them. He is picking candidates that wouldn’t be easy to confirm even with a Republican majority in the senate.

Trump’s older sister, federal appellate Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, has retired — halting an investigation into whether she broke judicial conduct rules by committing tax fraud. The investigation started last fall indicating that the Trump family had participated in tax schemes to maximize Trump, Barry and their siblings’ inheritances. An inactive judge for over two years, Barry no longer faces the judicial misconduct charge as the statute only applies to active judges.

When Julian Assange was arrested by London [UK] police from the Ecuadorian embassy, Trump told reporters he knows “nothing about WikiLeaks” and it’s not his “thing.” Yet during the campaign trail at rallies when the mountain of information came out from WikiLeaks, Trump praised WikiLeaks saying even that “I love WikiLeaks” among other positive comments.

Multiple Republicans, including Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, and Sen. Roy Blunt were scratching their heads at Trump’s comments how he didn’t know much about WikiLeaks now but made those comments about 30 months ago.

Near Calexico, California, a section of the fencing between Mexico and the US was recently replaced. This section was in the works to be replaced almost a decade ago. And yet there was a plaque that was added to the fence which said that “This plaque was installed on October 26, 2018 to commemorate the completion of the first section of President Trump’s border wall.” But as mentioned, it was a replacement wall and not part of a new wall that didn’t previously exist.

Trump created a brand new attack on trade with Europe, including threats by the US trade office of tariffs on $11 billion US worth of European goods. Just like going after Canada, Mexico, China and others with the same phrase, Trump tweeted “The EU has taken advantage of the U.S. on trade for many years. It will soon stop!” The EU is expected to retaliate.

Aircraft subsidies are just an excuse for the US to launch an attack on another of its longtime trade partners in hopes of winning the kinds of advantages it sees itself getting in its deal with China. Others says he is trying to get on Boeing’s good side especially after the slew of canceled orders because of the 737 Max 8 issue.

Trump canceled a deal that made it easier for Cuban baseball players to compete professionally in the US. It allowed Cuban players to play in the US without detecting and then state-run Cuban Baseball Federation would get a fee. The White House argued that the Cuban Baseball Federation is part of the Cuban government, which caused the deal to be nullified as trade with Cuba is banned. The deal was made just 4 months ago.

Mount Vernon president and CEO Doug Bradburn, who led the tour, according to Politico, has told several people that French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife were far more knowledgeable about the history of Washington’s compound than Trump seemed to be.

Trump reportedly learned about the first US president’s real estate empire. But Trump didn’t seem too impressed. “If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it,” Trump said of Mount Vernon. “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.” Bradburn reminded Trump that Washington had succeeded in getting the nation’s capital named after him.

Twitter is considering labeling tweets that violate its rules but should remain on the platform because they’re in the public interest. This include tweets from politicians and other figures that may be offensive but are important for public debate. Twitter has come under fire from some critics who say Trump’s tweets often violate its rules against bullying, dehumanization and threatening harm.

Jessikka Aro, a Finnish investigative journalist with a history of breaking stories on Russian propaganda efforts, had been slated to receive a prestigious award in Washington a little while back along with several other women selected by the State Department for their courage in the face of great risks overseas. The State Department said it was a miscommunication and that she had been “incorrectly notified” of her award. But internal communications show that the State Department and US embassy officials in Finland had been in talks with Aro for several months.

Trump knows how to pick them. Stephen Moore, Trump’s pick for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, owes $75,000 in taxes and penalties to the IRS. It was for unpaid taxes, penalties, interest and other costs in 2014. Moore has previously gone after the Feds in comments and is fairly close to Trump.

A former driver for Trump’s family has been in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for eight months. The man, a Romanian immigrant green card holder, who came to the United States legally in 2011 and worked for Trump’s golf club in Jupiter, Florida, was arrested in June 2018 by ICE after the agency called him to their office “to discuss his ‘inadmissibility'” to the United States following a 2013 trip he took to Romania. During the 2016 election, the man picked up campaign staff members and dignitaries at the airport adding that he had to receive security clearances from the Secret Service.

Last year, companies announced 98,563 retail job cuts, the highest total since 2009. Primary reason is more online shopping. But what was lost, package pickers and drivers have increased. Just this week, Payless shoes announced it would close 2,500 stores in the US and Canada and lay off 16,000 workers.

Now Trump thinks Mueller is great after he is “exonerated”

“So after a long look, after a long investigation, after so many people have been so badly hurt, after not looking at the other side where a lot of bad things, a lot of horrible things happened, a lot of very bad things happened for our country, it was just announced there was no collusion with Russia — the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. There was no collusion with Russia. There was no obstruction and none whatsoever,” Donald Trump said after a summary of the Special counsel Robert Mueller report was released by Attorney General William Barr.

[I’m sure you noticed that Trump’s vocabulary is limited. He quite often says “bad” and “beautiful”.]

However House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement that “The fact that Special Counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay. …. And most obviously, for the president to say he is completely exonerated directly contradicts the words of Mr. Mueller and is not to be taken with any degree of credibility.”

As vindictive he is, Trump is already claiming he will go after those who falsely accused him of collusion, obstruction, etc. Of course he has threatened previously and it was his own justice department that investigated him and those around him.

Mueller did not make the decision himself on whether to prosecute Trump on obstruction, the attorney general wrote. Instead, Mueller left it up to Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Not surprising those pro-Trump and anti-Trump went to their corners and started to crank out comments statements, tweets and interviews about the outcome.

Mueller’s summary accuse House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, of having “abused your position to knowingly promote false information.” 9 Republicans on the committee have signed a letter calling on Schiff to resign. Seriously?

“We should not be used as a platform to spread false information and bizarre conspiracies,” said Rep. Devin Nunes, the committee’s top Republican. “With McCarthyism, we had Russia chasing after Russian communists. Now we have Schiff chasing after Russian collusion and those who would collude,” Republican Mike Turner said.

Every politician has knowingly spread false information. Look at Trump and then Trump himself tweeted that Schiff should resign from Congress.

Trump is all so nice and kind for Mueller saying what he did was honorably. This after about 2 years of Trump whining that the investigation was a witch hunt, there was no collusion, Mueller is a Democrat [no he’s a Republican], illegal, blah, blah, blah.

But during an interview, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said he disagrees with Trump that Robert Mueller acted “honorably.”

Justice Department notified the Fifth Circuit US Court of Appeals that it is supporting a complete invalidation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). It now believes not only that three provisions of that statute are unconstitutional, but that, as a result, the entire law, including dozens of provisions having nothing to do with the offending sections, should be thrown out as well.

The move was apparently ordered by the White House over the objections of Barr, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. White House staff, counsel, and top lawyers do not believe the decision to be justified.

Trump repeated his threat to close down the border between the United States and Mexico, but this time he noted he would act next week if Mexico doesn’t step up. “If Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States throug (sic) our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING the Border, or large sections of the Border, next week,” he tweeted.

“We have the weakest, most pathetic laws,” Trump said, threatening to close the border if two current caravans of migrants cross into the US. And who’s fault is that? He has had a majority of Republicans in the house and Senate and couldn’t do anything.

“Believe it or not, they were begging us to build in San Diego, begging us to build a wall. And we’re just in the process of completing a major stretch of many miles of wall,” said Trump in a recent interview. I’d like to know exactly who begged for a wall that was never built. All that has been done in his nearly 2.25 years is fix walls and fences.

Of course how many other times has he threatened to do something and not do it? Just about every time.

Unsure where this comes up from all of a sudden [but do we ever?], but Trump went after Puerto Rico’s fiscal management and the size of its disaster relief in the wake of damaging storms last week. Complaining that the government didn’t use their finances properly [i.e. too much in Puerto Rico – a territory that isn’t pro-Trump – and Florida and Texas that are either pro-Trump or close to it] and claimed Puerto Rico used $90 billion which seemed quite inflated.

Not surprising, the House failed to override Trump’s veto after both chambers of Congress sought to overturn his national emergency declaration to build more border wall. Both chambers of Congress had passed a resolution to overturn Trump’s national emergency declaration to fund more border wall.

But even White House spokesman/flunky Hogan Gidley said “Democrats continue to ignore the reality that our porous southern border is a magnet for illegal immigration, child smugglers, human traffickers, drug cartels, gangs and many other criminals. This national security and humanitarian crisis endangers every American and cannot be described as anything other than a National Emergency.”

A federal district court judge blocked another Trump administration effort to undermine Obamacare where the Labor Department was rule designed to make it easier for small businesses to band together and buy health insurance in so-called association health plans — one of the Trump administration’s initiatives to weaken Obamacare by offering alternatives to the exchanges. This was after a federal district court judge blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to allow states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients.

After Republican lawmakers failed to dismantle Obamacare in 2017, the Trump administration took matters into its own hands. It has been issuing a series of rules and guidance that aim to undercut the landmark health reform law. Trump now says that his administration will roll out a new health care plan this year. But that will need the Democrat led House. Good luck there. 20+ million Americans could lose almost all health care access.

When Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos wanted to cut all Special Olympics funding – $17.6 million, some weren’t happy. But could it be saved? Sure. Each trip that Trump takes to his Mar-A-Lago resort costs #3.4 million alone [that’s the trip including, flight, fuel, security – but not his time there]. So if Trump cuts out 5 trips, the Special Olympics can keep their funding. [Trump has spent 25% of his term at one of his resorts, BTW.]

Now DeVos told senators that she was not personally involved in the decision to propose eliminating funding for the Special Olympics, but continued to defend the cut included in her department’s budget. Sources said the cuts were ordered by the White House budget office. She has no say?

Later Trump said “I’ve been to the Special Olympics. I think it’s incredible and I just authorized a funding. I heard about it this morning. I have overridden my people. We’re funding the Special Olympics.”

DeVos then said after “I am pleased and grateful the President and I see eye-to-eye on this issue and that he has decided to fund our Special Olympics grant.” Huh? Is she running her department or is there another Secretary of Education?

George Conway, a conservative lawyer and the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said in an op-ed “If the charge were unfitness for office, the verdict would already be in: guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In another rally in Michigan, Trump said:

  • “After three years of lies and smears and slander, the Russia hoax is finally dead. The collusion delusion is over.” – Yes with 7 pleaded guilty, 5 prison sentences, 199 charges, etc.
  • “The Special Counsel completed its report and found no collusion and no obstruction.” – You know the answer to this.
  • “Total exoneration. Complete vindication.” – And this.
  • “The Russia witch hunt was a plan by those who lost the election to try and illegally regain power by framing innocent Americans, many of them.” – Yes the 7 who pleaded guilty.
  • “They did it all because they refused to accept the results of one of the greatest presidential elections, probably number one, in our history.” – As all elections are ranked according to which are the greatest.
  • He also is still rambling further on how he beat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election – close to 2.5 years ago. You think he’ll be saying the same thing while in prison?
  • “It’s faster and it’s less expensive and it’s also much more beautiful.” – Yes. $25 million for a “barrier” [see below].
  • “It’s like I attacked so violently Pocahontas. And I knocked her out of the race I guess and I said why did I do that for? It’s too early.” – A sitting President just bragged about how he “attacked so violently” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. As well, she is still in the race. How did he knock her out of the race again?

After a prosecutor unexpectedly dropped all charges against the “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging an assault on himself — leading Chicago police to investigate it as a possible hate crime. “FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago,” Trump tweeted. “It is an embarrassment to our nation!” Hope he declares it a national emergency.